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Leave magnet schools out of proposals to fix crowding
By NANCY C. ROSE
Published September 4, 2007
Once again, we are faced with School Board meetings, workshops, studies and votes to annually re-examine the issues concerning Hernando County's magnet schools. Haven't we addressed them enough, and can we not stick to the guidelines set in place to try to give children a fair chance in admittance to these programs? What is this repetitive focus costing our public school system? Didn't these schools prove their success and attain their set goals by complying with Florida standards?
So, isn't it rather backward to think of dismantling the programs that work to fix the ones that don't?
I voted for board member Dianne Bonfield, and after the last televised School Board meeting, I can say I am sorry I did.
Although the meeting's focus was on all magnet schools, she seemed to have a personal vendetta against Challenger K-8.
Is it not an honor for Hernando County schools to have a school receiving support from NASA? Is she completely unaware of the number of parents who went through the portfolio process and then the lottery? As an elected official, shouldn't she take the wishes of her constituents into account? Is it really cost-effective to move an entire school program into another building?
Let's be more productive and address the problems at the schools that parents are concerned about. It seems to me if all this energy was focused in the right direction, we might come up with a viable answer to the real problems.
Parents want a good education for their children. The issue of overcrowding will be somewhat alleviated by the unwelcome necessity to rezone. The new elementary school "J" is already predicted to be overcrowded. Every school meeting I have attended has focused on the number of children moving into the county and each school's capability of dealing with it.
But poor planning for the growth of this district has still left the schools overcrowded.
Now, there is a lull in the housing industry. But our county commissioners are still being presented permits for more housing developments and retail establishments. So, it is inevitable we will continue to see more growth, with no solution yet on the table.
With the economy in a downward spiral, federal and state funding for projects cannot be expected to increase. Then there are those of us who took some joy in the lowering of our taxes but still expect to receive better services.
I do not think it is wise to sit back and hope that in another five years or so maybe we can expand our buildings to accommodate our growing student population. I would hope the most recent studies done for rezoning have encompassed the future growth.
Maybe east and west kindergarten facilities would make sufficient room to alleviate crowding in the elementary schools, and also parents' worries about their young children attending school with older children. Another answer may be a volunteer group to run fundraisers for a building fund. Or, to look at alternative private industries that may fund building, yes, another magnet school.
Someone should look into federal or state incentives for building an ecological school, in the long run, to cut some of the tax burden by creating its own energy.
These are several suggestions from one parent. Can you imagine what we could come up with if we all focused our attention on a real solution, rather than continuously using the magnet schools as a scapegoat for the ongoing problems?
Nancy C. Rose lives in Spring Hill. Guest columnists write their own views on subjects they choose, which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.